At the time of this writing, I count eight gun-bills at various stages of life, death, or limbo in the Arkansas General Assembly. You can have a look at them here. Perhaps more exist. They're sometimes hard to track when you have a day-job doing other things.
I learned from those who follow the General Assembly that gun-bills are perennial favorites, and that the current numbers aren't shocking. In the 89th gun-friendly General Assembly, however, some of these bills are passing, and that has not always been the case.
If you look carefully at the legislation, you'll see that our lawmakers are trying to build the infrastructure that would encourage and manage both a thriving gun culture and, more importantly, a healthy gun economy, and they're using, to deploy an obvious metaphor, a shotgun approach to do it. They're firing lots of bills at a single target—more guns in the culture.
Of course, supporters of these bills will argue that they are concerned about the public safety of our students and citizens on our school campuses, and I believe that many of them honestly feel that more guns lead to less crime, to paraphrase John Lott's controversial book.
I don't agree with that assumption.
But have a look at a checklist of the bills' original agendas (before they were passed or defeated), and it seems clear to me, at least, that one of the original intentions behind them was to build an expressway for guns to go places they've never previously gone: allow faculty & staff to conceal-carry on campuses; lower the price of the licenses; allocate $250 K to the Concealed Carry Division of the Arkansas State Police; refuse to release the names of those who hold concealed-carry licenses; put guns in churches; put them in K-12; allow open-carry; allow guns in cars parked in employer's lots.
In other words: broaden the market for guns by giving them more traction in our culture, more venues where they are welcome, thereby placing them more squarely in our daily lives by making the licenses to conceal them both more affordable and private, and by giving our citizens more places where they can legally carry them.
Whatever we might argue about public safety—and that's a continual dialogue—it's a sound marketing strategy as well.
In short, the legislature is building the infra-structure and the legal apparatus to fast-track guns to the heart of our culture—in this case, to the center of the educational arena. Some have called this shotgun-style legislation a smart strategy.
"Smart" is not a word that occurs to me when I consider these bills. "Profitable" pops to mind. But "effective?"
Well, yes, the word "effective" makes sense too, as long as I'm allowed the adverb "grimly."